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Upgrading Joomla 2.5 to 3.2

  • Written by  Clive

Upgrading my existing Joomla 2.5 website to the new responsive Joomla 3.2

Upgrading Joomla 2.5 to 3.2I was quite happy with my website as it was, using Joomla 2.5. However with the shift to predominantly mobile access to the internet, I felt it important that my website be mobile friendly.

Joomla 3.x was mobile friendly but unfortunately was not stable enough for live sites. Then, just before Christmas I heard the good news that a stable version of Joomla 3.2 had just been released! I immediately set to work to upgrade my site.

Downloading and installing Joomla 3.2

I downloaded a copy of Joomla 3.2 and installed it on my laptop (I useWAMP server as a localhost). I must say that the installation was easy and straight forward. As I had been running a development copy of my 2.5 live site on my laptop, I opened up the configuration.php file (found in the root folder for that site) in a text editor to get the user names, passwords, database details, etc.


Installing the JCE and Sourcerer Joomla extensions

Next, I installed the JCE editor (a joomla extension) and copied and pasted all the content from the original site into the development site (naturally after creating the relevant menus, categories, etc). It wasn’t too much of a deal as the site was quite small. In fact I found it a great opportunity to weed out all the junk. The JCE editor is fantastic! Copying and pasting is a breeze. Images and links are copied over directly so you don’t have to import images and recreate links. I did experience a minor problem with the JCE extension though (more a server configuration issue). I kept getting this error:

JCE error while upgrading Joomla 2.5 to 3.2


I quickly managed to find a solution in one of the google+ communities. Turns out, all I had to do was change the error reporting setting in the Joomla configuration settings (Global Configurations> Server):

Server settings while upgrading Joomla 2.5 to 3.2

I set the Error Reporting to Simple and that took care of the Undefined Variable warning.

Next, I had a bit of a problem with some php code I needed to include in a few articles. I had used the Sourcerer plugin which enables you to add php and html (and javascript) directly into an article. It’s a fantastic plugin. In my joomla 2.5 site, I had used it for a couple of download links (which were masked using a third party program that necessitated the use of some php code). The links and accompanying text were laid out in a table. I found that if I built a new table and included the php link code, the table would not show however, if I copied the table over, it worked. Weird but true. So that’s what I did and then edited the table to suite the new site.

Installing the K2 Joomla extension

I had heard about the K2 template, watched a few youtube tutorials on it and decided that I would like to use it on my site so I downloaded it. After enabling it, I played around with it and was quickly able to master the basics. I particularly liked how easy it was to install the social media buttons on all the pages.

Installing the Akeeba backup extension

Once I had my Joomla 3.2 site up and running on my laptop, it was time to make a backup and install it on the live site. I installed the Akeeba backup extension (you shouldn’t leave home without it!). I had a bit of a problem because of my server setup (I’m using WAMP server and localhost) – another call to an undefined function.  I quickly found the solution on stackoverflow  (I had to enable php_openssl) which was easy to correct with WAMP. I just selected PHP>PHP extensions:

WAMP settings for Joomla upgrade 2.5 to 3.2

And then selected php_openssl.

WAMP server settings for Joomla upgrade 2.5 to 3.2

After that the install and setup went smoothly. So now I have a backup which I can install on my live server.

Installing Joomla 3.2 on the live website

Over to the live site. First and foremost, I made sure that I had a working backup of the live, Joomla 2.5 site.  I then created a basic html page using an HTML editor (I use Amaya) which stated that my site would be down for maintenance. Then using FireFox’s FireFTP tool, I logged into my site, uploaded the HTML page I had just created (I named it index.html – after first renaming the existing index.php page to indexOLD.php). I then proceeded to rename all the existing Joomla files and folders (I’m terrified of deleting stuff) so that they would be easily recognizable when I eventually came round to deleting them. I find it comforting to know that they are still there to reverse any cockups. Next was to restore the site using the backup, I uploaded the backup (of the development site) and a copy of Akeeba’s kickstart.php file (you can see how easy it is to restore from a backup here on Akeeba’s site) and restored the site. What joy when the new site comes alive!

Some teething problems

I noticed that when I tried to unpublish anything (in the K2 component), it would not work from the K2 main console. I had to open up the item (category, menu, or whatever) and then set Published to No:

 Unpublish article in Joomla 3.2

and save the item.

I was also rudely awakened by the fact that most of the images that I thought were all nicely taken care of, had suddenly disappeared, leaving placeholders behind! It turns out that somehow, between making the backup and restoring it, the images were lost. I think it may have something to do with the Akeeba backup settings (I think I should have included the images folder in the backup - it's something I will have to investigate for future backups). The solution was easier than I thought.

I opened up one of the items with missing images in the Joomla backend (in the K2 component) and had a look at the html code (using the Toggle button), specifically for the image source code:

Upgrading Joomla image source

Then I checked in the Media Manager (in Joomla’s backend) to see which images and folders existed:

Image folder for upgrading Joomla 2.5 to 3.2

All I had to do then was copy the appropriate folders over to the site (using FireFox’s FireFTP tool). So in the above image, the Spelling folder did not exist, so I copied it over (and all the other missing ones) and everything was back to normal!

I also decided that I needed to improve my chances of getting traffic to my site which called for some SEO. Not knowing anything about this, I did some research and decided to install a SEO plugin. The process was very easy and although I haven’t mastered it yet, I have managed to take care of all my broken links. On the agenda is to do some SEO research so that I can make good use of the plugin’s features.


I’m quite impressed with the new Joomla 3.2 site. It’s fairly fast and works great on mobile devices too!